In Virginia family law cases, children will frequently be a key factor. After custody has been determined, there will generally be an order of child support. This is crucial to serve the child’s needs by providing them with the basics and wherewithal to live a healthy and happy life. Still, paying child support can be costly and cut into a significant amount of the supporting parent’s income. With that, they will want to budget accurately and know the duration of the payments. With that, it is imperative to understand the law as to when payments will terminate. Depending the situation, it might not necessarily be when the child turns 18.
Child support and when it goes to age 18 and beyond
If a child is under age 18, then child support must be paid. However, it can also go past the child’s 18th birthday. The child’s school status is a fundamental factor in this determination. In the following situations, the payments will continue: if the child is over 18, has yet to graduate high school and is still attending; the child does not support him or herself; and if the child lives in the home of the person who is asking for child support until age 19 or high school graduation has taken place – whichever comes first.
Another more complicated instance is if a child is suffering from disability, incapacitation or other issues that inhibit self-support. Based on this area of child support law, if the child is disabled mentally or physically and that disability was in place before the child reached 18 or 19 (depending on the above factors), cannot live alone and is still living with the parent asking for child support, then it can continue. These payments can be placed in an ABLE account. ABLE is an acronym for Achieving a Better Life Experience. It is a savings program for disabled people. The court can also approve if the parents stipulate or agree that the support obligation will extend beyond these limits.
Handling child support and other family law factors may require advice
Parents undoubtedly want the best for their children, but there is no denying that there is a financial component that should be addressed. In some child support cases, the parents are on the same page and can discuss the financial needs reasonably and ensure the child is cared for appropriately. In others, disputes arise not just about the amount but how long it will be paid. To address these challenges effectively, it is wise to understand the law and know what steps are necessary to reach a fair outcome. This may make it necessary to have assistance with the process. Whether it is acrimonious, agreeable or somewhere in between, it is essential to remember the value of guidance.